Friday, April 08, 2011

In victory, a warning to Columbia ROTC advocates

Columbia anti-military activists have begun to push back against the Columbia University Senate endorsement of ROTC.

Professors Gans and Morris remind us that the wheel keeps turning and what goes around comes around. The historical engine of change stops for no one, and as the Poet teaches, "As the present now will later be past, the order is rapidly fadin'. And the first one now will later be last, for the times they are a-changin'." True activists are persistent and don't quit their cause. Activists are empowered by defeat because it restores them to their natural militant anti-establishment role. Their defeat in the University Senate gave Columbia anti-military activists a cause on which to build a new campus anti-military movement.

Columbia ROTC advocates are fairly warned: As we continue to work joyfully after the senate vote to help establish ROTC on campus, we must also account for the opposition and defend our gains from invigorated anti-military activists. What we did to their victory can be done to our victory.

For generations, Columbia anti-military activists had held the duty of guarding the crown jewel of the near-mythic 'Spirit of 68' legacy. They should have had every advantage to stop the campus ROTC movement in its infancy. Yet they failed because their hubris prevented them from respecting the insurgent threat until it was too late. We should take care not to repeat the mistake they made when they allowed us to win.

Cautionary tale from February 3, 2003:
Despite their strong feelings on the matter, these groups have not yet waged much organized protest against the proposal to bring back the ROTC program.

"We have better things to do with our time than undo games that were already won thirty years ago," said Michael Cas***man, SEAS '03 and treasurer of the Columbia Student Solidarity Network.




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